FAQs About Goldfish
Related Articles: Goldfish
Systems, Goldfish 101: Goldfish May Be
Popular, And They May Be Cheap, But That Doesn't Make Them
Easy Aquarium Fish by Neale Monks, Goldfish Disease,
Fish Disease, Livestock
Bloaty, Floaty Goldfish,
Pond Parasite Control
with DTHP, Hole in
the Side Disease/Furunculosis,
Goldfish Disease 1,
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FAQs on Goldfish Medicines
Antibacterials, Anti-protozoals (
al. non-fixes, Misc.
by "Types", Causes:
Environmental 5, Environmental , (Absolutely
the Biggest Category)
Floaty Bloaty Goldfish
Nutritional (Second Largest)
Viral and Bacterial, Fungal
Parasitic: (Ich, Protozoans,
Flukes, Worms, Crustacean/
Fish Lice (Argulus),
Goldfish Swim Bladder
Anomalous (Misc., Injuries, etc.)
Floaty bloaty goldfish (+ feedback
on Bob Fenner's Goldfish Book) 1/19/15
I have a 200g tank w about 20 comets and fancy GF, mostly fancies. I
have an Rena xl and an Eheim 2217 (I believe that's the right model
number) I have about 5 fancies that are floaty bloaty :(
<Indeed. Presumably you've read this article:
That's the basics, and if you click on the links at top, especially the
FAQs about nutrition, you'll find we hear about this kind of thing quite
I have switched their food to ocean nutrition 2 and have been feeding a
lot more veggies (spinach, squash, zucchini, and occasionally duck
weed). One fish's body is just smaller than my fist, so fairly large,
and the rest are fairly small. Should I do the floaty bloaty Epsom salt
treatment to the whole 200g tank?
I do have a 10 g hospital tank, but I am worried about it being waaaay
overstocked with the affected fish.
<Quite so. No point medicating any fish in an aquarium less healthy than
their normal home.>
How often do I need to do w/c's while using the Epsom salt? Im pretty
good about a weekly 25%. What would be your suggestion?
<That's a good starting point. Simply add the appropriate amount of
Epsom salt to each new bucket of water to replace the Epsom salt the
water change took out. Since the recommended dose is 1-2 tablespoons per
ten gallons, that's about 0.1 to 0.2 tablespoons per 1 gallon, or for an
average 3 gallon bucket, about 0.3-0.6 tablespoons, which as it happens
is roughly 1-2 teaspoons (there being 3 teaspoons per tablespoon).>
Thanks so very much.
Also, I can't tell you how happy I am to have found you. It's an amazing
thing to know I have someone to go to with these questions. My LFS
doesn't know anything. And on your suggestion a while ago, I did
purchase your book. It was a good read! Thanks again!
<Thanks for the kind words. Bob'll be pleased to know you enjoyed his
Good luck, Neale.><<Oh yes. RMF>>
Re: Floaty bloaty goldfish (+ feedback on Bob Fenner's Goldfish Book)
Thank you for the quick response! I have read the attached article on
malnutrition. I have dramatically changed how I feed my Goldie's. I do
still rely on flake much more than I want to though
<Do switch to pellet instead>
... 4 days flake and 3 days is veggies...but maybe I'm over feeding the
<Doubtful; unless they're (the greens) are polluting the water>
It takes them a while to eat up the zucchini and spinach. I also have a
10 in Pleco that needs time on the zucchini... They work on it all night
there will still be some some rinds floating around, but they'll eat
it... I honestly don't know how much they'd be able to eat in a few
minutes... Does that rule still apply to veggies?
The day after I feed veggies, the tank is quite cloudy, and there's a
ton of debris floating around. ( I'll often do a quick 10-15% just cause
it looks bad). I know I am supposed to feed "sparingly" while using the
Epsom salt... How often is sparingly? Every other day?
<Just less per feeding; same number of feedings>
What would I need to grow elodea?
<Water, light, some nutrient>
Just the 10-20,000k bulb? Is a HOB filter ok?
Would I need a pink spectrum bulb too?
Does it grow pretty fast?
<In "right conditions" yes. See WWM, the Net re Egeria densa>
(I would do that in a separate tank with plants only) how big of a tank
would you suggest for this? Or can I use a big tub/bucket?
<As big as practical. A "kiddie wading pool" (outdoors is fine in most
locales, and there are colder water species) is ideal>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Goldfish looking black-dusty 1/19/15
Thanks so much for this great site. I recommend it all the time to
I have a 55 gal. with 2 goldfish in it. There was another goldfish up
until about a month and a half ago that was about four years old that
died pretty unexpectedly. It had no health issues that I knew of, it
began to act lethargic and by day 2 or 3, it was laying at the bottom of
the tank, not eating, not able to swim and it died the next day. (I
don’t know if that is pertinent or not
<Let's see; good to have the data point>
—it had no signs of illness, no dropsy, no PopEye, no red streaks or
spots/dots/fluff—it was really weird. I changed about half the water in
the tank after it died.)
Anyway—My ammonia is 0, my Nitrate bobs around a little, but I try to
keep it low (under ten usually, never more than 15). I need to get a new
Nitrite test kit and haven’t tested it in awhile, but it had been
holding at 0 as well. I like to change water often and keep the tank
pretty clean, so I doubt I’m dealing with water issues... but could be
Anyway, my problem is with one of the remaining fish in the tank. It was
pretty small when I got it about 3-1/2 years ago and it was a plain,
bronze colored fantail. (It’s maybe 4-5 inches long now, including the
tail) Anyway, a couple years ago, it started to change color to orange,
which is what I kind of expected—and the entire fish was orange except
for a tiny little spot on the base of it’s tail which stayed darker
(same spot on both sides of it’s split tailfin) Everything seemed fine,
Now, a couple (few?) weeks ago, I noticed the fish looked sort of dusty.
I thought maybe it had been digging through the substrate (I use the
substrate that’s been recommended on this site a few times, though I
can’t remember offhand what it’s called—but it’s basically like black
sand) and had sand granules on it’s head. The fish was acting normal,
hungry as usual, so I didn’t worry about it. The next day the granules
were still there. It looked almost like charcoal dust was stuck to it’s
head, except the “dust” is not raised to my eye. Again, fish seems
happy, eating fine.
I continued to do water changes as usual, test parameters as
usual—Nothing out of the ordinary. However, one day, I noticed that
these black granules seem to be covering more and more of the fish. They
are not raised—but I’m not sure if it’s a color-change, either. The fish
before (when bronze and orange) was rather shiny. Now, where the black
is, it looks matte-finished or like velvet (like a moor, kind of.) The
fish is about a third black now—but not in a solid way—its covered in
these charcoal dusts spots.
I Googled this and read through WWM as well and haven’t been able to
find much. So, reluctantly, I asked my local pet store and the woman
there thought it was a bacterial infection and suggested I try Maracyn
Plus in conjunction with Jungle Antibacterial food.
<Mmm; no; not necessary, or advised>
Okay... I read the bottle and it didn’t seem like it was too
invasive—doesn’t seem to mess with the bio-filter and is only 3
treatments spaced a day apart, so I thought I may as well give it a shot
(Thinking perhaps this black dusty-looking stuff could be related to
what killed my dead other goldie from earlier)
Well... I put in my last dose yesterday and I’m going to change water
tomorrow, and it has made no difference. I have also tried the
anti-bacterial food, though it says to feed it for 2 weeks and it’s only
been six days, but the fish not only is still dusty-black, but the black
gets more spread every day.
Is this a natural color change, or do I have something else going on??
<Very likely it is natural. Have seen this sort of change many times
If you think it is something else, is there something I can try? I would
hate to lose another fish... I had the tank set up with these 3 fish in
it since they were about an inch and half and haven’t had much issue
with it until now...
(Ps—I also have a AquaClear 70 back filter on it, some extra aeration
(air stones), heater (about 76 degrees)—the usual set up. Our water here
tends to be on the hard side, but since it’s not drastically hard, I
don’t mess with it or the pH)
<I would not do so either. Better to stick to just partial water changes
with the tap/source water every week>
<I would not be concerned re this fish's appearance. It will likely
continue to change; with some trend back to more golden over time; more
so with good nutrition and water quality. Bob Fenner>
Fantail with haemorrhages/white "tufts" on
Hello WWM Crew!
As a long time reader of the site I would like to express my profound
and sincere thanks for the work you do! (I would
rave on, but instead will get to the point of my
The goldfish in question, (Blinky, since I know you adore cute-sy names
;), is 2 year old fantail, 12cm excluding his tail
and has always been in excellent health. He was
purchased from a chain pet store in June 2013 when
I took pity on his one-eyed wiggle at the front of the tank. In Sept
2013, he flew from Canada to France and survived
complications of water leaking from his bag. He
shares his tank with a black moor of similar size
(also from Canada :), a 6cm fantail; (the latest addition on Nov 21
<Mmm; thank you for your careful recording, relating... this may be the
source of a/the pathogen>
after 8 week quarantine when I thought Blinky was
better), about 10-13 albino aeneus Corydoras
(adults and offspring), and (formerly) one female albino
The tank itself is 350L and has been running since June when they moved
up from a 200L (with most of the decor and
established filter media.) It is filtered by a
Eheim 2260 filled with floss, sponges, JBL BioNitrat EX and
Substrat pro. Temperature is 24 C, pH runs around 7.5-8.0,
NH4 and Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10-25, GH 7-14dH and KH
10dH (JBL EasyTest strips, double checked with API
master kit occasionally). I change between 20-40% of the
water every week
<I'd do the 20 every week>
or 2 depending on my schedule, using tap water (French
alps!) conditioned with Prime. Tank is planted with
Anubias mounted on rock and a mini forest of
Hygrophilia polysperma. Egeria densa is added
floating until eaten :)
<This Elodea might be a source>
There are numerous mangrove roots as well.
Substrate is JBL sansibar grey, (which replaced 1mm ceramic (??) balls
Oct 23rd, which the black moor kept getting stuck
in his nostrils :/) Lighting is 2x38W T8's on for 6
hours daily. I add Botanic CO2 booster (generic
Seachem Excel) at suggested dose daily to attempt to control the beard
algae. The tank was treated with eSHa 2000 from Oct 4-7th
due to a white
"plaque" on the black moor's side; he has always been prone to
infections and crashes into things regularly due to
his swim bladder issues (he’s also a bottom
The Corys breed every 5-7 days, luckily most of which
are eaten or I would be up to my ears in albino Corys!
They are fed (rotating on my whim) Tetra and JBL flakes, Hikari lionhead
pellets, HK sinking wafers, HK wheat germ fancy goldfish
food, Saki-Hikari Fancy Goldfish, HK algae wafers
(every day for the Plec.) and Sera vipachips. On
occasion they also get Ocean Nutrition frozen cubes
(bloodworm (I know, I know but they LOVE them!), daphnia, Artemia and
mysis. I used to feed them oranges, lettuce and cucumber,
but I always found they were lethargic afterwards
so I stopped. I add either Atvitol or sera vitamins
regularly. I try to keep Egeria in the tank, but they may go
for a few weeks without when I get busy!)
(wow, that's a lot of info...)
Blinky developed his first white "tuft" spot at the beginning of Nov.
Over the next 2 weeks, approximately a dozen tufts
appeared and resolved without treatment. Blinky was
very irritated, flashing, twitching, yawning and
“coughing". The tufts appear at the tips of his scales, and were
initially discrete without obvious parasitic or
traumatic cause. They stick out from
his body, are about 2mm long/wide and don't appear to be fungal in
origin, too "neat".
<Yes; discrete... Perhaps... Lernaea; which the eSHa wouldn't treat>
The haemorrhages are beneath the tufted scales, with the blood
just below the scales. The tufts and haemorrhages last for
2-4 days and resolve spontaneously. Not all the
tufts have haemorrhaging associated with them.
However, in the first batch, 2 were associated with clear white
"strings" approx. 1/2 cm long. I could not see any
structure to the strings to suspect Lernaea,
and had no vector,
<As stated above... the last fish, Egeria>
so I suspected they may be slime coat bits. I
initially treated the tank with salt (NaCl) at 3 g/L
<For worms; won't eradicate crustaceans>
according to suggested dosage for 10 days which decreased
the outbreak slightly. The tufts which did appear had
small haemorrhages at the attachment point and
usually a clear "string". I did a skin scraping but
found very little; his gills appeared inflamed but normal
otherwise. He got a 5 min salt dip at 30g/L after the
scrape (Nov 15th) after which he improved greatly,
only to relapse a couple weeks later.
After more reading on WWM, I decided the haemorrhagic points and strings
could be anchor worm,
<Yes; my guess so far>
as was suggested to another reader with similar
symptoms. I treated the tank with JBL Aradol (Diflubenzerone) at the
suggested schedule/dosage Nov 29th which lasts 3 weeks. Initially Blinky
appeared slightly improved, but was unchanged by the end
of the treatment.
After the Aradol, I scraped him again and found a few flukes and a
single protozoa which I couldn't identify.
<Do you have images of these?>
Starting Dec 31, I tried salt dips at 30g/L for 4-6
min.s for 3 days. (Unfortunately, the first dip was at 60g/L
due to an error on my part and was only 30 seconds before
he rolled, poor guy.) After the dips he was again
markedly improved for almost a week, but the
haemorrhages again returned with a vengeance.
As of three days ago he had a thickened slime coat, about 20 white
tufts, a dozen haemorrhages of various sizes from
2-7mm diameter and the attachment points of his
pectoral fins showed internal haemorrhaging and the underside
of his operculum were bloody. There is no obvious loss of
integrity of his scales at most of the sites, but
the bigger ones can have some
raggedness at the edge of the bloodied area, particularly one on his
operculum and the posterior portion of his dorsal fin. I
have also thought there may be some damage to the
underlying tissue at those two same points. One of
the Corydoras is acting as a wrasse and loves to eat
whatever is on him; perhaps her efforts are causing the
spontaneous resolution of the inflammations or is
she just eating his excess slime coat? I repeated
the 30g/L salt dips the last 3 days and most of the
haemorrhages and tufts have resolved, superficially he looks almost
normal. However, he is still lethargic, bottom sitting
(never did this before), and does the dash and
flash regularly. He is still eating but much less
<The salt/s won't do any good here>
Now, my moor is also lethargic. He has a single white spot on his
head, but he often has these which come and go, like
little wen growth areas. It is very different from
Blinky's tufts. He has been a bottom sitter for
years now; he’s an awkward swimmer with his swim bladder issues
and long, flowing fins. He tends to be lazy, usually
Blinky poking at him is what gets him moving. (I
never thought two goldfish could be so attached to
each other.) Yesterday, I saw the Plec lying underneath the
Moor eating his fins,
something I had never witnessed before, nor seen
similar damage. Needless to say, she is no longer in the tank. She has
caused some pretty major damage to about 1/2 his fins, but they are
already losing their raggedness. I don’t think the
tufts on Blinky could be caused by the same type of
thing, they were sticking out from him, not eaten from
him, but perhaps it was a result of the Plec?
<Not likely; no>
Lastly, tonight after feeding, I noticed all of my Corydoras and the
small fantail were gilling very rapidly, they have
been normal all day. A few of the Corys have also
started flashing. Tested the water with API kit, all
parameters as above. I did a 40% WC on wed, and 10%
yesterday. There have not been any possible
contaminants during the day (unless the feline-cats
were really getting into mischief! ;). The tank is currently salted at
2g/L, I was going to go up to 3g/L
<... I would not do this>
tonight but I think I will wait on your advice. I
know the Corys don’t like the salt. but they have previously
tolerated it well. I haven’t raised the temperature as I
can’t rule out columnaris. I was going to move
Blinky into another tank, and treat him
with some antibiotics, (likely Furanol (Nifurpirinol) or Furanol
2(sodium-nifurstyrenat)) as a first line choice, but with
the other fish now showing signs of illness I think
I may be better off treating the whole tank?
<I would try treating with another arthrocide:
Help! What are my next steps? Thank you in advance for your help and
advice, I really hope to get Blinky and his buddies back
<And adding another filter, likely a hang-on power type of size. Bob
Fenner, who is sending this on to Neale Monks for his independent
Fantail with haemorrhages/white "tufts" on scales
<<I don't disagree with anything significant that Bob said. But a few
comments might be worthwhile:
(1) Since you're in Europe, buying antibiotics without a
prescription is prohibited. There are pros and cons to this, which
we can discuss another time. But for now, unless you get the fish looked at
by a vet, the antibiotics Bob suggest are a non-runner. We do have some
excellent aquarium medicines available in Europe that largely substitute for
antibiotics, and my favourite is a product called eSHa 2000. It seems to
have low toxicity (safe with filters, and seems safe with catfish and even
pufferfish). But is also quite effective, and almost every time I've used
it, it's done the job! It also happens to be economical, another plus. About
£5 for a bottle, enough for 800 litres. I'd suggest tracking this product
down, possibly even by mail order if you can't find it locally. There are
other anti-Finrot/anti-bacterial medications on sale, but honestly, this one
is much the best, and my preference over, for example, the Interpet product.
(2) Salt is not at all toxic to Goldfish at 2 g/l, and for
short-term therapeutic uses (a few weeks) will do Corydoras no harm at all.
As Bob suggests, there's no real advantage, and possibly some risk, to using
salt continually in tanks with soft water fish such as Corydoras, even at
this very low dosage. But Goldfish won't be harmed by this amount of
salinity. Indeed, carp generally inhabit slightly brackish environments all
around the world.
(3) The combination of salt dips providing short-term benefits plus the
appearance of Protozoans in the slime, reminds me of Costia. Another eSHa
product, eSHa EXIT, treats Costia, and can be used alongside eSHa 2000
safely. These make a good treatment for the primary infection (the Costia)
and the secondary infection (the bacteria). I have used this combination to
treat Costia on pufferfish and it worked well, though did require a second
course of treatment.
(4) If you do choose do medicate your fish as indicated, be sure to remove
carbon from the filter if used. Both eSHa products seem strongly negatively
affected by carbon (he says with the voice of experience!).
<Thank you (as always) for you input, summation Neale. B>
Very puzzled with Comet goldfish behaviour and/or illness.
PLEASE help! No data of use 1/2/15
I have read everything on your site for the past 2 months but
haven’t yet found my answer! So in desperation i am contacting you.
I am in desperate need for my 6 year old comet. His friend just died two
months ago, they grew up together and he (she?) has never been
introduced to other fish. He is now relying on me for companionship. If
I am not in the room where his tank is, he just sits there. He looks so
sad and lonely when I am not near the tank. Otherwise he is incredibly
friendly, boisterous, active and playful! He is a hoot with a crap load
of personality. He is 20 cm long (nose to end of tail) and needs a
larger tank (or area). He is in a 3 foot, 140 litres,
the last 4 years with his mate. I have never introduced other comets to
him. Water parametres are all perfect. Three people checked it!!
They said ‘salt is a bit low’.
<.... goldfish don't need "added salt", salts... Combinations
of metals and non-metals. There is sufficient ionic content in most all
source waters... Unless you're using RO, distilled, some sort of
"bottled water" that doesn't have measurable "hardness" I would NOT
casually add salt/s to the water>
I don’t know what is wrong with him. He seems active when eating but his
fins flick and he when he is quiet he suddenly shakes his head or darts,
very quickly for two seconds and then starts swimming again. In the past
two months I have paid for 2 ‘experts’ to come check him out.
<... should've put the money toward a bigger system>
One guy said he had flukes,
<? Did they sample, look under a 'scope?>
the other lady said he didn’t have anything and looked fine. I also took
video to two other stores and they said he was fine! One breeder said it
was normal goldfish behaviour.
<This is likely correct>
The first guy told me to give him para-cide, so I did for one night and
he nearly died! Kept losing balance in the tank and lethargic! So I
changed the water. Through extensive (obsessive) internet research I
found it is toxic! In the last two months he has had tri sulfa and is
now just finishing Prazi
(Blue planet fluke and tapeworm). And today for the first time I noticed
some flashing on the gravel i think. He has a bit of streaking in his
fins too for last couple months. I am beside myself with upset and worry
about what to do. I can’t give him even more medication! He has also
JUST started to hang out gasping at the top occasionally, more and more
despite me adding another power filter and air stone. It doesn’t happen
much but it seems he is skimming the surface. Intuitively I know
something is up, but experts all say something different.
Most of the time when i am in the room with his tank he is very very
active, dances for food, and swims around excitedly. It is when i leave
and watch from a place he can’t see me he eventually just goes to sleep.
When he sees me again his front fins flip in excitement again.
Thank you soo much, i would really appreciate your response as i am
considering either re-homing him to an expert or euthanizing as i am
beside myself with worry.
<... how much Nitrate is here? Any detectable NH3, NO2? I'd add
some aeration/circulation, perhaps even
another filter... consider adding a compatible (see WWM re) dither fish.
URGENT please: Re: Very puzzled with Comet goldfish behaviour
and/or illness. PLEASE help! We are EMO 1/3/15
<Where is the data I asked for? Please send. B>
Thank you. Today my comet 'slept' in one spot all day and when he 'woke'
he flicked one front fin, then flicked the other front fin, then the top
fin (this is daily) and then he 'flashed' on the gravel very quickly on
one side of his body and then flipped over and flashed on the other
Then his whole body had like a spasm for about 3 seconds. He shakes his
head suddenly too.
I still don't understand as in the past 2 months has had tri sulfa and
also Prazi (two doses). He has always had carbon in a hang on back
filter, Aqua Clear, but not now with the meds as Prazi was a few days
ago, last dose.
Water is all zero and i have been changing it about twice a week or as
instructed on the meds.
I do really feel something is up, does that behaviour seems right to
What is it? I am so stumped. Every time i think he is 'ok' he then has
these spasms, flashes and twitches suddenly.
What does this mean? And what do i do?
Re: URGENT please: Re: Very puzzled with Comet goldfish behaviour and/or
illness. PLEASE help! 1/3/15
I have attached photos this time. Ammonia zero, Nitrites zero, Nitrates
<... no; not NO3 zero; or how do you accomplish this? Use a different
Ph (don't know the reading but on the top end of the chart).
The readings have been like this for a couple of months since i learnt
about them. I raised the two fish for 6 years, with 3 tank upgrades,
without knowing anything about water parameters. Only in my search for
why the other died did i learn about the readings (he died on Halloween
by the way!).
And no, they did not look for flukes under a scope. The man said 'he has
flukes' and the girl 'expert' here said she watched him for an hour and
if she thought it was flukes she would do a scrape but didn't think so.
Today he slept, hung up the top alot
<No such word>
to mouth the water despite me adding another smaller hang on filter in
the front of the tank (as seen in the pic). In the afternoon at dinner
time he was active and eating like crazy again. Lots of fin flicking.
I am in Australia so hi from down under and THANK YOU for you expert
<Almost assuredly something to do w/ water quality. Read here:
and the linked files above. B>
<In looking at your pix (a very nice fish BTW); your NO3 is NOT
zero. See the color comparison chart and start serial (daily)
changes of about 20%); vacuuming the gravel>
Re: URGENT please: Re: Very puzzled with Comet
goldfish behaviour and/or illness. PLEASE help! 1/4/15
THANK YOU SO MUCH! Yes i can see that now re the NO3 colour. I compared it
with my tap water which is bright yellow.
<Ahh, I see>
A couple of last questions if i may please please?
1). Do I put the carbon back into my hang on back filter now?
<Yes I would>
I did the 20% water change and the NO3 is now even darker orange and is
<Not to worry; keep doing these daily... the NO3 will come down>
My comet is swimming and active a lot (not 'alot' ;)
today but still shaking head quickly and a bit of body spasm at times. I
hope this improves him and it goes away. Will monitor.
2). How long do i do these daily water changes?
<For a week for now>
3) would a new 48" x 18" x 20" tank be big enough for him (and perhaps a
friend or two)? I am not sure what my rental property floor will hold as the
house is over 50 years old?
<Yes; good size, and YES re checking the floor, having it checked. DO SEE
WWM re my articles re stands and floors>
I should have come straight to you! 2 months of stress, chaos and confusion
with conflicting advise yours makes THE most sense! I can't thank you
enough! What a steep learning curve!
<You're getting there. Bob Fenner>
More- now face
rubbing - Re: URGENT please: Re: Very puzzled with Comet goldfish behaviour
and/or illness. PLEASE help! 1/5/15
Hi again Bob
Today for the first time i noticed my comet rubbed his face vigorously into the
gravel. It was almost violent and very scary.
I was sitting on the side of his tank. He swam over, turned on his side, pushed
the side of his face and eyes right into the gravel really hard on that side,
then flipped over and did same on the other side.
Yesterday he VERY was active after the water change and this morning i changed
the water and then these behaviours started again and he isn't very active. But
it is the first time i have seen this intense rubbing of his face. He still
shakes his head from side to side suddenly and flicks fins.
Yesterday i added the carbon as you said, and with the water change I have been
adding Prime and Seachem Gold Salt as i have always done for six years with
water changes. It also seems as if the Ammonia reading is not bright yellow. A
What does the rubbing of the face mean? And what do i do now? What am I don't
Thanks yet again!
<The same metabolite burn... keep doing the water changes, drop the
salt... even the Prime isn't necessary with quarter or less percentage
Re: More- now face rubbing - Re: URGENT please: Re: Very puzzled with
Comet goldfish behaviour and/or illness. PLEASE help!
Thanks. If no Prime then do i add 'Water Ager' with these daily changes?
<As stated; nope>
I have 'Pets' Water Ager - Tap Water Conditioner. Neutralises chlorides,
fluorides and chloramines.
Or just straight pure water from the tap?
Taa, much appreciated
Re: More- now face rubbing - Re: URGENT please: Re: Very puzzled with
Comet goldfish behaviour and/or illness. PLEASE help! More EMO
Hi again, so sorry. Now my comet has a long white stringy poop?
<Not to worry; again; environmental>
There are too many signs for me to keep up with (I am keeping an eye on him
since the other died).
Doing searches just lead to a variety of things it is quite perplexing.
Is the white stringy poop anything to worry about? In combination with other
signs what are your thoughts please? He did have that actually when his mate
died two months ago, but i thought it was stress.
Severe gill damage in goldfish
It has been a while since my last fish crisis, but I have a problem that
I just can't troubleshoot. I have two 4 year old goldfish in a 50 gallon
tank. Both are showing signs of severe gill damage. On fish has almost
expired and I am wondering if there is anything I can do to save him. My
water parameters, at least the ones that I can measure, are fine.
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 8, pH 7.8. I can't measure dissolved
oxygen but have lots of surface agitation and I change 50% of the tank
water twice a week-I sit the water first and treat with Prime.
A gill scraping did not reveal parasites. The gills are nice and red
with no white patches or slime but they are shredded- both fish in the
same tank exhibit gill damage like this. My goldfish in other tanks are
fine. I am
hoping that I can save both fish- one is very ill but the other is still
functioning well despite the severe damage. I understand that gills can
heal if I act right away... but I really don't know what to do! What
could be happening and how can I reverse the damage before it is too
<Gill damage can be caused in multiple ways. Without a photo or looking
at the fish, it's hard to diagnose. Whitespot and especially Velvet
attack gill filaments, leaving them vulnerable to secondary (bacterial)
infections. Treating for Whitespot and/or Velvet will generally allow
the gills to heal naturally, though the use of antibacterials or
antibiotics may be needed in stubborn cases. A fungal infection called
(or "Gill Rot") is caused by a microscopic fungus. Infected gills show
excess mucous alongside inflammation, so a speckled grey and red
appearance to the gills is common. Infected fish have trouble breathing
lethargy, etc). Antifungal medicines particularly Phenoxyethanol will
Branchiomycosis is environmentally triggered, and is probably latent in
most tanks (and on most fish) so when it becomes a problem, as with
Finrot and regular fungal infections, you need to pin down the problem
water quality). Gills can become inflamed or show excess mucous
production when water parameters change or become stressful. Review
ammonia, nitrite, pH (stability as well as values), copper, and any
soluble poisons (check any rocks in the tank, for example, as well as
paints, cleaning products, and other fume sources in the house). Very
dark red to brown gill filaments are a classic sign of nitrite
poisoning. Physical damage from fighting, struggling in strong water
currents, jumping when scared, etc. can also damage the gills, leading
to infection. Review, and act accordingly. Gas Bubble Disease is a name
given to tiny bubbles of air getting into delicate tissues such as gills
when water is supersaturated with air. This is uncommon in freshwater
tanks because we rarely mix air and water as vigorously as in marine
tanks, but worth reviewing. Finally, there are some gill parasites such
as Ergasilus, visible as distinct white spots on the gills, though these
are very rare in aquarium fish.>
Gina de Almeida
This is NOT a picture of my fishes gills but it looks very similar. My
fishes gills don't have any white bits. [image: Close-up of the bright
red gills of the black grouper]
Update (everything new is in parentheses)... GF health
My email didn't send until today, and I wrote it a week ago! So I want
to update all of the info--
Hi there! I have (4) issues to ask about.
I just moved my goldfish from their 100g to a 200g. (Two weeks ago now)
There's about 20 gf ranging from 1 1/2" comets to 8" comets and several
fancies in between (also a 12 in Pleco- LFS said he WAS be our problem
but I have never seen him be aggressive except to a dead fish, so I am
absolutely convinced). There's only a TINY bit of ammonia (and
small amount of nitrates. Everything else is in the normal
range for our area- had the parameters checked at PetSmart today temp is
72 degrees F)
<Do you mean nitrites or nitrates? Easy to mix them up. Within reason,
nitrate (with an "a") can be ignored. So long as you do weekly water
changes and don't overfeed, nitrate generally stays below dangerous
levels for most fish. Sensitive fish like cichlids should have nitrate
levels below 20 mg/l if possible, and certainly below 40 mg/l, but
otherwise goldfish and most community fish can tolerate much higher
levels without problems. That's fortunate, because many tap water
supplies (at least in the UK) have 40 mg/l nitrate to start with.
Nitrite (with an "i") on the other hand is almost as toxic as ammonia.
There are no safe levels of either. Detecting any is bad news. For sure
more is worse, but even trace amounts mean the filter isn't working
quickly enough, and exposure to ammonia and nitrite stress fish. In all
likelihood, a low level that never goes away is worse that a brief
exposure to a higher level that goes down to zero within a day or two.
In short, detecting either is worrisome.
Review filtration, aquarium size, stocking, and feeding.>
1) I am worried there is not enough filtration after reading several
posts on your site. We have a Rena XL (rated 240 or 260 gal, 400+ gph)
and I use Purigen, not charcoal.
<Neither is useful in this situation. Do understand that chemical
filtration media like carbon, Purigen, zeolite, etc. have to be replaced
very frequently, probably weekly. They get "used up", and the bigger the
load of fishes, the faster they're used up. They have no value in
freshwater fishkeeping except in very specific circumstances, for
example hospital tanks where biological media aren't viable. In standard
issue community tanks and goldfish tanks, they're pointless. Worse even,
because they're using up space that useful media -- biological media --
Remember, you want your filter to do just two things. Firstly, remove
ammonia. The biological media does that best. Secondly, remove silt to
keep the water clear. Mechanical media, such as fine filter wool. does
Chemically altering the water, which is where you'd use chemical media
like carbon, doesn't fit anywhere in this plan.>
I was given one Eheim 2217. I think 150 gal, not sure what the gph is
<It's an outstanding filter. Had two of them over the years. Old school
in design, but a wonderful bucket for biological media, and extremely
reliable, running for 10+ years without problems. Set up as stated in
the instructions, most simply by filling it with a stack of Eheim
sponges (though you could just as easily and effectively fill with
generic ceramic noodles). Turnover is 1000 litres/hour, about 260 US
gal/hour. For Goldfish
you want something like 4-6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per
hour, the lower end for fancy varieties, though with really big tanks
(such as your 200 gallon system) you can get away with less if you don't
overstock. Nonetheless, the Eheim 2217 (~260 gal/hour) plus the Rena XL
filter (~450 gal/hour) should give between them sufficient filtration
for your aquarium so long as stocking is moderate and feeding isn't
I've never used an Eheim, so I have to figure out how to set it up, but
I intend to use it... (Still do not have set up)
<Do visit the Eheim site; you can download manuals, e.g., here:
The 2217 isn't difficult to set up, probably much like the Rena XL,
though older school so everything is that bit more fiddly. Canister
filters have got a lot more user friendly since the Eheim 2217 came out!
taps on the two hoses stop water flooding out, there are metal clips
holding the grey pump part to the green see-through canister, and on the
inside are two green plastic concentric ring pieces that go top and
bottom of your stack of media (by default, a stack of six big thick
circular sponges). The only tricky bit is to remember which way round
the green plastic ring pieces go: with their longer feet away from the
media, which provides space for water to flow into the canister and then
out of the media into the pump. I always recommend setting up a filter
in the kitchen sink or outdoors first, using a bucket of water for a
trial run, so you get the hang of reassembling everything somewhere you
can see any leaks. Once you're happy, you can then empty the filter,
move over to the aquarium, then set it all up again, confident you're
doing it right. Since these 2217 units don't have a built in lever or
pump for self-priming, you need to somehow suck water into the filter
for it to fill up. Sucking the outlet pipe, so water flows into the
inlet pipe, is the traditional way, but try not to suck water into your
mouth! For most people, any bacteria in the aquarium water will help
boost their immune system, but at worst, if you have a weak immune
system or some other medical issue, it could give you a stomach upset
(aquarium water can breed salmonella, which is why you should wash your
hands after playing with a fish tank).>
Even w/ those two canister filters going, I don't think it'll be enough!
What do you suggest I do or use? I do have one air stone going, fish are
not gasping, but 3 larger fancies sit on the sand substrate. ( everyone
sits on the bottom now, they get active when I come by the tank, but
once I walk away, they go back to their corner)
<Indeed; see above. With the 2217, once its media are mature after a 3-4
weeks, you should have just about enough.>
2) some of my fish have been splitting their tail fins somehow ( now
there is visible blood veins- septicemia(?) in the tails of most fish).
There's no aggression or sharp objects in the tank at all, I read it
might be bacterial?
<Correct. Incipient Finrot.>
How do I go about treating the 200 gal, just buy A LOT of medicine?
<Indeed. Luckily, big tanks with big filters have fewer health
(Would I use Maracyn 2 or triple sulfa or furan-2? We also just had ich
pop up, I treated twice w Clout, and it did not work for everyone.
There's 6 fish w visible ich, some of those 6 have blood streaks and
Several of the other fish have split fins and blood streaks but no
visible ich. LFS sent me home w Seachem's Cupramine- buffered active
copper to treat the ich, but said the septicemia would clear up on its
own. That doesn't
sound right to me... I'm at a loss as to what to do. I lost my black
moor- who was my BABY! I'm still sick over losing her, I don't want to
lose anyone else )
<I would get the other filter up and running, minimise feeding while
ammonia and nitrite are detectable, and see what happens. Chances are
with good water quality, the fish will self-heal.>
3) we got a new fancy last week (two weeks ago now) and he came home w
lice, I've seen 2 now on fish. Can I use clout? Will it stain my
sand-it's off white. (I plucked one off of the fish- and used Neosporin
painkiller, the second lice had disappeared in the tank. , I think I
found him today. So obviously the two rounds of clout didn't kill him...
I'm praying to God that he didn't lay eggs in the tank and there's no
<What sort of "lice"? Argulus-type crustaceans stuck to the outside of
your fish? No, medications, even the blue ones, don't normally stain
aquarium decor. There are fish lice treatments available, but since fish
complete their life cycle in aquaria, the usual approach is physical
removal, and as you've done, taking care bacterial infections don't set
into the wound.>
(4). Also I am looking into changing foods after reading your page on
goldfish malnutrition, Can I feed the ocean nutrition formula 2 flake,
pellet and frozen to my fish solely? I have a friend who will give me
duck weed every week or so as well, but that's just now happening, it
hasn't previously been part of their diet. I couldn't believe how much
of that they ate in a day! Every now and then I give frozen squash and
pees that were thawed out...but I know now that that is not enough )
<With Goldfish, a combination of good quality flake food alongside fresh
greens is really all you need. Frozen brine shrimps and bloodworms make
nice treats, but shouldn't be used too often, maybe at the weekends for
a treat when you have time to watch them feeding. Defrost them in a
small cup, and add a little at a time so the fish have time to get it
all and you don't overload the filter (inevitably a lot ends up getting
sucked into the filter if the fish don't have time to eat it).>
I'm sorry this is so much longer than my previous email, so much has
happened in the last week! I've explained this situation at least 4
times today to different pet store associates...my head hurts.
I appreciate your help!!! Have a good day!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Update (everything new is in parentheses)
To answer your question about nitrates vs. nitrites in my tank, there is
a small amount of NITRATES, not nitrites.
(whew) I am treating the tank with the previously mentioned Copper
treatment for Ich, is it okay to finish the treatments then start up on
the water changes, or do you think I should do water changes now? –if I
do water changes now, do I continue treating as indicated?
<Generally, you do water changes after the entire course of treatment of
a certain medication, but before beginning a second course of treatment
(whether with the same medication or a different one). However, if you
wait a few hours between adding the medicine and doing the water change,
things usually work out okay. So add the medicine in the morning, go to
work, and do the water change when you get home. That sort of approach
gives the medicine a few hours to kill the pathogens.>
I still need to treat 4.7mL tonight, tomorrow am and pm, then it will be
done. Once I do start water changes, should I do one every day until
there is no ammonia? (I want to say there was .5-1.0 PPM on the test
strip-somewhere in the middle)- and the PetSmart said that was perfectly
fine, obviously they were wrong.
<Indeed they were. Reduce feeding to zero while ammonia is detectable,
and try to do 10-25% water changes until such time as ammonia is
consistently zero. Do also check your tap water for ammonia. You can get
false positives where chloramine is present, and though your water
conditioner neutralises it, your test kit still detects this "harmless
ammonia". So if tap water and aquarium water show the same level of
ammonia, it may well be your filter is working just fine. That's one
reason I prefer nitrite (with an "i") test kits. They tell you the same
thing (i.e., the filter is working or not) but without the risk of false
positives. Again, tap water can contain nitrite (rarely) but it's toxic
whether in the tap water or aquarium, and in any case, your biological
filter removes it. So all else being equal, zero nitrite means good
What are the ceramic noodles you mentioned? I have Fluval ceramic
prefilter media -(Pictured) (just a box I had laying around, never used,
but that says its for preventing clogging of finer media. Would that be
a spot for the bacteria to live?
<Fluval Pre-Filter media is mechanical media for trapping silt, and
isn't the best biological filter medium. But Fluval BioMax, Eheim
Substrat, Siporax, and various generic media are available. They're all
ceramic, porous, and ideal for holding the good bacteria.>
I also have a bag of ceramic tubes (also pictured) which is very similar
to the Fluval media, with small pieces of what looks like pumice rock
that was in the Eheim canister when it was given to us… it was VERY
dirty but we rinsed it out.
<This is Eheim Substrat, an excellent medium for biological filtration.>
The LFS said we could use just that with some of the Acurel waste and
debris reducing pad, and that would be all we need. Is that correct?
Or would you suggest more or different media? In our Rena, we have two
different kinds of sponges (sizes of holes are different, a pack of the
bio-stars (pictured), then I have some of the Fluval ceramic, then two
layers of Purigen, then a buffer pad…
<Again, fine. The Purigen is pretty pointless, but some sort of fine pad
is useful for trapping silt (no more than, say, 20% of the canister
should be filled with this though, otherwise it's a waste). Clean the
silt-trapping pads frequently, under hot, soapy water if needed,
provided it's thoroughly rinsed out afterwards. A useful tip is to have
two sets, one in use, and the other deep cleaned and drying out, ready
to swap over as/when needed. The rest of the filter can be filled with
sponges, plastic media stars, ceramic noodles -- but best avoid the
pre-filter ceramics for maximum filtration. Because these are less
porous than the biological ceramic noodles, they hold less bacteria per
I sent a picture of what the lice looked like. He's the crustacean one I
So I wasn’t completely sure from your response- some times I am a bit
slow-, can I feed the Ocean nutrition food to my goldfish as their main
diet (flake, pellets, and if I can find it locally, the frozen) plus
some frozen veggies, duckweed and blood worms maybe once a week? I was
looking at seaweed wraps on the internet, Are there any ingredients that
I need to watch out for or avoid? Or are all pretty much okay?
<Yes, the seaweed wraps are just repackaged (often overpriced) Sushi
Nori, and all are good. Not all fish seem to like them though.>
I am on my second day of treating the Ich with the copper medication,
and it seems like the ich is worse and has spread to other goldfish, is
this just the cycle? Or should I be concerned? The treatment is supposed
to be over tomorrow pm (day 3) and I am just worried it wont be cleared
up by then.
<Yes, the medication only kills the planktonic "babies" not the adults
in the Goldfish that you can see. Don't forget that chemical media like
carbon and Purigen can/will remove copper, preventing the medication
doing it's job. ALWAYS remove chemical media from the filter before
medicating or there's a very good chance the fish won't get better. An
exception to this rule is the old salt/heat approach to kill
This isn't affected by chemical media. It's also a lot cheaper than
Whitespot medications, and usually works very well. Salt is,
surprisingly to some, less toxic to fish than the copper and formalin
used in most Whitespot/Ick medications. Goldfish tolerate salt extremely
well, so you can actually use slightly higher salinities if you want,
maybe 4-5 g/l, if you want a quicker response or the lower salinity
isn't working sufficiently well (Velvet, for example, looks like
Whitespot but is harder to kill at lower salinities).>
How do people with big tanks have their electrical set up? I have two
pumps, two lights and an air pump going, (if it were tropical I would
need a heater, and if saltwater, I know I would need more) what is the
safest way to plug all that in? Right now I have all 5 plugged into a
circuit breaker, and that is the only thing plugged into the outlet (so
there is one open plug). Is that okay?
<Well, so long as the total doesn't exceed the current load of your
sockets, yes, it's fine. In the UK that's 13 Amps. Few appliances state
the current they draw, but they do state the watts (work done) and you
known your local voltage (in the UK, 230 V) so you can work it out, as
watts/volts = amps. Realistically, the wattage (power) used by aquarium
appliances tends to be pretty low. An Eheim 2217 filter for example
draws only 20 W, or 0.09 A -- not much at all! Heaters are often the
biggest appliances we use in terms of current, usually 50-250 W
depending on their size. But even a 250 W heater will only be drawing
250/230 = 1.09 A, a lot more than the filter, but still not a huge
number in the scheme of things (a hairdryer for example can draw 10 A).
That means that placing one heater, one set of lights, and one filter
per socket is normally absolutely fine. If you're using a circuit
breaker, it should cut out before you overload the socket, but if you're
at all concerned, speak with a qualified electrical engineer (which I'm
not, and don't want to be responsible for any damage to your home
through misuse/overloading your home electricity system).>
Thanks Again, You are AMAZING! I wish I would have found you years ago!
My fish would have been so much better off!
<Glad we can help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re:? Salt trtmt.s... Update (everything new is in parentheses)
Everyone seems to get a long really well. Its a fun tank. :) Will the
Emerald Green Cory Catfish be okay in the higher salinity for treatment?
<Yes. 2 g/litre is very little salt. Brochis splendens will be just fine at this
Our LFS sounded a littler leery about it, and since I accidently referred to
them in my previous email as "emerald green cities" (dang auto correct!)
I just wanted to double check!
<Corydoras catfish are more upset by repeated use of copper and formalin than
they are salt. Indeed, this holds true for practically all freshwater fish. Salt
is not a poison. Raising the salinity causes their osmoregulation system (in
effect, their kidneys) to work a bit harder, but once the salt is diluted again,
it's no harm done and things go back to normal. Copper, by contrast, is a
poison, and the "art" in using it as a poison is to use enough to kill the
parasite before killing the fish.
There's no guidebook of safe copper concentrations for tropical fish, which us
why some species (catfish, loaches, puffers) seem to be more sensitive than
others (tetras, barbs, cichlids). Indeed, for sensitive fish
(stingrays, Mormyrids, spiny eels) the use of copper simply isn't an option --
it'll kill them before it kills the parasite. Bottom line, if you're dealing
with mild/early Whitespot infections, the salt/heat method is safer
and recommended as the first line of attack. If it doesn't work, then you might
try out the copper and formalin based medications.>
Also, I wanted to double check my math and conversions... You said for salt, to
do 2 grams of salt per liter, so a 60 gallon tank is 227 liters,
<Yes, 60 US gallons is 227 litres. In all likelihood your tank doesn't contain
anything like that much water because of the rocks, gravel, etc. so you can
round that down a bit, say 10-15%, to maybe 200 litres. Make sense?
It's always a good idea to count the number of buckets of water used to fill up
the tank when you set it up, so you know *exactly* how much water it contains.>
so I would need 454 grams of salt total. (for me, that's 16 oz, or 2 cups of
salt) Does that sound correct?
<Sounds about right. 200 litres, 2 gram/litre, so about 400 grams salt. Or 454
gram if you're going to assume the tank contains 60 gallons of water.
Don't guesstimate the salt using cups. Weigh it using kitchen scales. Don't add
the salt directly. Remove a bucket of water. Dissolve the salt into this bucket.
Stir thoroughly, and leave for 10-20 minutes to fully dissolve. Stir again. Over
the next few hours, pour 10% of that water into the bucket, every 20-30 minutes.
If there's any solid salt grains left, don't pour them in, but add some more
water stir, and when dissolved, add to the tank, again taking your time. The aim
is to adjust the salinity slowly and prevent the fish swallowing any undissolved
grains of salt. The fish should adjust without problems and you can leave the
tank running thus for 7-10 days. Meantime turn the heater-stat up a couple
degrees, 28 C/82 F being optimal. Increase aeration and/or splashing from
filters if possible to keep oxygen levels high. Be aware the Whitespot will get
worse before it gets better. You can't kill the mobile parasite stage (whether
using salt or medications) so you'll see the existing white spots grow and
burst. But you should find that after a couple days the white spots are gone and
none take their place. After 7 days the life cycle of the parasite should be
broken, but it's normal to wait 10 days just to be on the safe side. When you're
done, reverse the process by doing water changes (30-40%) every day for 2-3 days
to dilute the salt away. Again, the aim is to avoid exposing the fish to any big
changes in salinity.>
Thanks again! I hope you have a wonderful day!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Lumps on goldfish 10/4/14
I have a couple of goldfish that have developed lumps. They do not seem
stressed and are eating just fine. They are in an outside pond.
I have attached some pictures that might help.
I have some koi and other goldfish in the pond.
and the linked files above. BobF>
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term
by Robert (Bob) Fenner